It’s early on a Sunday morning and there’s already a queue snaking out the door of Flour Shop, a recently opened bakery in the sleepy upper north shore suburb of Turramurra. Owners Laura Gonzalez and Anu Haran greet customers with enthusiasm, despite both having woken up at 2am.
The pair met seven years ago when their train broke down on the morning commute to their corporate jobs in London. After getting to know each other, they realised they were both wildly passionate about food. So they started doing pop-up dinners from Haran’s living room in Reading, a town west of London. “[It began] with eight people, which became 10, which became 30,” Haran tells Broadsheet.
Haran moved to Sydney in 2018 and has spent her time hosting pop-up dinners and honing her skills at various spots around town, including Staple, Organic Bread Bar and Pizza Madre. Gonzalez, who had fallen into the world of sourdough, and spent time working at Snapery, one of London's top bakeries, joined her in January this year so they could open Flour Shop together. Fast forward to today and it’s hard to miss the heaps of pastries on the front counter as you pass the shop front. Croissants of all varieties – plain, chocolate, caramel, and ham and cheese – are piled on top of one another as a barista brews Single O coffee behind the espresso machine.
The caramel croissant, a crowd favourite that’s reminiscent of a kouign amman, is made by laminating croissant dough with raw sugar to achieve a glistening caramel crunch. In addition to the staples, Haran, who is responsible for the pastries, creates a weekly special to “satiate her creativity”. When Broadsheet visits, it’s an almond croissant oozing with house-made frangipane.
The sourdough, which is made with a blend of flours to achieve a golden crust and nutty flavour, is the bakery’s signature loaf. Gonzalez bakes a different loaf each week, using what she has on hand. “Someone brought us some olives and a bunch of herbs, so we’re using those in an olive bread this week. Next week we have no idea what it’s going to be,” she says. Everything is made in small batches using sustainable, chemical-free and organic flour, and produce sourced from Australian suppliers.
“I think there is a big temptation to [make] more,” says Haran, “but we wouldn’t maintain the quality. We want to be recognised for three things: bread, pastry and coffee.”
The space is homey, with mismatched chairs and tables on one side, and an exposed kitchen on the other, so customers can see their fresh bread and pastries being pulled out of the oven. “It may not look neat, but we didn’t want that,” says Gonzalez. “We wanted to be real, it’s about people seeing reality”.
16 Princes Street, Turramurra
Thu to Sun 6.30am–3.30pm